Record Reviews


The gold watch. A shitty reward/token for 25 years of loyalty/toiling at a job you hate. You wake up one day at the age of 65 to find yourself in the meeting room being presented with a gold-plated Timex or Omega that looks more expensive then it actually is. Coworkers applaud politely while secretly wanting to slink back to their desks. You look down at the watch in your hand, a metaphor for a big chunk of your life wasted. Good one!

I have no idea if Total Control’s song ?Retiree? is about kowtowing to the corporate culture, but it does have the line: ?The handshake is coming down/The gold watch is ticking down the days/Keep them at work.? Either way, the song is straight-up awesome.

The second 7? from this punk/new wave-ish project for Mikey Young (ECSR, Brain Children) and Daniel Stewart (Straightjacket Nation, The UV Race) is a pulsating blast of synth- and drum machine-driven energy contrasting with despondent lyrics. While the band’s now sold-out first release was recorded as a three-piece in a few hours on an eight-track, these two songs were recorded entirely by Young with Stewart handling vocal duties. Although the style of music is reasonably removed from the rawer punk of the first 7?, it’s reportedly much closer to what the pair had envisaged from the outset.

The vocals on A-side ?Retiree?, for example, offer up a clinical weariness, bringing to mind the tenebrous moans of Wasted Truth’s Sean Bailey. Driven by a propulsive cold wave synth line and claustrophobic lyrics, the song feels like being stuck on a running treadmill in a retirement home while watching footage of atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima interspersed with snippets from the Golden Girls. Or something like that. The B-side, while slower, is no less ominous. A spooky synth shimmies behind a droning vocal that could well be emanating from a clipboard-wielding German psychoanalyst.